Review: Marked by Moonlight by Sharie Kohler

Format: E-bookmarkedbymoonlight
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Moon Chasers, Book 1
Publisher: Pocket
Hero: Gideon March
Heroine: Claire Elizabeth Morgan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: December 26, 2007
Started On: October 17, 2010
Finished On: October 17, 2010

When I finished Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas, I started out by choosing A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole from my humongous to-be-read pile. Even way before I started on the book I was thinking that I had previously read the book, mistakenly mixing up this title with the one I had chosen to read.

Marked by Moonlight by Sharie Kohler was a book I stumbled across during the time when I first discovered the exciting world of e-books. Back then I used to read about one book per day, maybe even more than that and tended to forget the book soon afterwards though some stories linger in my mind as worthy of a revisit sometime later. Not being much of a fan of paranormal romance, even then I remember that I had immensely connected with this story. When I realized that A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole wasn’t exactly what I had been looking for, I quickly posted what I remembered from the book on a couple of forums to find out whether anyone else remembered reading a book such as the one whose synopsis I vaguely recalled. I hit jackpot this morning when one of the readers of a forum remembered this book and I quickly loaded the book onto my Kindle and never looked back for the past couple of hours.

Marked by Moonlight is the first book in The Moon Chasers series by the author, the 3rd book of which is currently in my TBR pile. This book is the story of lycan hunter Gideon March who joins NODEAL, National Organization for Defense Against Evolving and Ancient Lycanthropes whose code was to destroy them at any cost. Gideon had been only 16 years old he had witnessed the brutal slaying of his father at his beloved mother’s hands who had been bitten by a lycan. She  had nearly destroyed Gideon and his younger sister Kit until they had been saved right in the nick of time by now Gideon’s boss and mentor and board director of the Houston Area division of NODEAL Cooper McPherson. Gideon had made it his life to seek out and destroy as many lycans as possible, the streak of vengeance burning deep within him refusing to die out anytime soon – that is until Gideon comes across prim and timid as they come schoolteacher Claire Elizabeth Morgan who literally turns his life upside down in more ways than one.

Growing up with a brute of a father who had controlled both Claire and her sweet mother with the threat of retribution by his fists hanging over their heads, it is no wonder that Claire carried the aftereffects of being submissive to ward off the violence in her life when she had been growing up. Now 31 years old, Claire is a high school teacher who has a soft spot for troubled kids, always going that extra mile to help them make a better future for themselves.

It is when Lenny Alvarez who has been under Claire’s special guidance throughout the year when she had finally broken through the layer of deep resentment that surrounded troubled kids such as him, goes AWOL that Claire dares to venture into Lenny’s neighborhood to ensure that Lenny would show up for his SAT’s on Monday. Claire doesn’t know what hits her when she follows Lenny into a dark alley and ends up being knocked down by a huge dog (which is what Claire wants to believe at first) and bitten in the process.

When she finds her savior Gideon March who is sexy as sin in her bedroom claiming that she had been bitten by a lycan and would herself go into a feeding frenzy the next full moon, Claire refuses to believe what she considers is a mad man’s mantra though Claire finds herself unbelievably drawn to the delicious temptation that Gideon’s body invites.

Gideon doesn’t know why he doesn’t pull the trigger and finish what was inevitable in coming, but somehow Claire with her new found confidence and feisty nature seems to answer a need deep within himself that he is unable to ignore. But helping someone who wants to keep her head buried in the sand proves to be a test on the reserves of patience that Gideon has in store. For the first time since Gideon started hunting Lycans, he goes against every code that has been ingrained into him and even lies to Cooper to buy himself time in order to find the alpha of the pack that had turned Claire and kill him/her before Claire has fed in order to revert the cycle.

When Claire finally does acknowledge the changes that are taking place in her body, precious time has passed and though she refuses to give up hope time seems to be a commodity that seems to be running out on them as Claire and Gideon battle the fierce attraction that blazes out of control between them which refuses to be denied as they go on the hunt. Help comes from unexpected sources and before the end is through, Claire would have to battle with the warring nature deep inside of her to come out victorious in the end.

I basically loved everything about this novel from its pretty cover to its great characters which made this a pretty great read, more so the second time round. I loved Gideon who basically oozed sex appeal at every turn and made my toes curl with his protective streak when it comes to Claire. I also loved Claire, the way she transforms from a mousy nobody into a sexy siren overnight, the lycan bite of course lending her the courage she needed in spades to embrace the person she really is. Loved the story that unfolded though some reviewers scoff at the idea of being able to reverse the effect of a Lycan bite and turn back into a human. I say its Ms. Kohler’s world of werewolves and shifters and she can do anything she damn well pleases with her other worldly creatures.

Recommended for those who love a romance with a sexy as sin hero who literally singes your eyebrows off with his smoldering sensuality and a plucky heroine who completes Mr. Sexy in every way.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookShades of twilight
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Pocket
Hero: Webb Tallant
Heroine: Roanna Davenport
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 1997
Started On: September 14, 2010
Finished On: September 16, 2010

As Catherine Coulter says on the cover of the book, Linda Howard is definitely an author who makes all our senses come alive with her cleverly spun romances. All my senses were on red alert from the start till I read the very last line of the book. No author does alpha heroes better than Linda Howard and that my fellow readers, is a fact.

Shades of Twilight is a story that is focused on  the Southern, rich and generations old Davenports family. The story kicks off when Roanna Davenport is just a mere 7 years old, Jessamine (Jessie) 13 years old and Webb Tallant 7 years older than Roanna who are all 1st or 2nd cousins. Roanna’s parents along with Aunt Janet who had been Jessie’s mother are killed in a car crash rendering their grandmother, the strong head of the household Lucinda mourning the loss of two of her children in one day. The Davenports resided in a mansion like house called as  the Davencourt, which Lucinda ruled and managed over. Though Webb is not a Davenport, he comes from Lucinda’s side of the family and she loves him and sees the strength in him that would make him the best choice to lead Davencourt in the years to come.

Whilst grandma Lucinda adored the beautiful Jessie where Roanna never did learn how to be graceful and always had a way of finding trouble where ever it may be, Roanna was afraid for the most part that the death of her parents would mean that she would be sent away. But in the end, grandma Lucinda overrides the discussion by stating that both Jessie and Roanna would live at the Davencourt. Even from that very tender age, Roanna hero worships Webb and the ground he walks on. Webb always had time for her, played with her and in general made her feel better than anyone else in the family.

But Roanna knows that as destiny has decided, Webb would take control of the Davencourt and from the way his eyes possessively roamed over Jessie, he would claim her as well. Spoiled to the core and illegitimate, Jessie had always resented Roanna for the fact that Webb always seemed to stand up for her and protect Roanna from Jessie’s bullying. The only place where Roanna feels any comfort is with the horses that the Davenports breed and there she blossoms and blooms like a flower starving for sunlight.

When Roanna turned 15, Webb and Jessie had married leaving Roanna heartbroken. Two years pass by and everyone at Davencourt knows that the marriage is far from a happy one. With Webb thrust into the cutthroat world of business whilst at the same time attaining his masters, he had little time for the tantrums that seemed to be a daily part of Jessie’s life upon her discovery that she is not able to control Webb like she does with other people who surround her life. And when she starts her illicit little affair with her own birth father, Jessie can barely keep her glee to herself. Meeting her father at hours for a time during the day, it is on one such day that Roanna follows Jessie and comes upon Jessie and her mystery lover whilst going at it like a bunch of animals. Angered beyond belief and hurt on behalf of Webb, Roanna makes her way home vowing never to tell Webb what she had witnessed.

That night, things take a turn when Webb who always badgers Roanna about how little food she intakes, offers her comfort in his arms. An innocent embrace slowly spirals out of control when Webb who has never seen Roanna as anything else other than a sister finds himself fiercely aroused, and a kiss initiated by Roanna has both of them nearly out of control when Jessie walks in on them and starts shrieking the house down. Jessie eventually manipulates the turn of evens to make it sound as if Roanna had deliberately tried to set up the scene in the kitchen so that Jessie would walk in on them, and the loathing and anger that Roanna sees in Webb’s eyes breaks her heart to pieces.

The mother of all arguments that Webb and Jessie has that night ends when Webb walks out fed up of Jessie and their marriage. And it is Roanna who walks into their room later to find her murdered, with her head bashed in. The whole family is quick to blame Roanna who the police rule out from the very beginning. In the end, Webb is their number 1 suspect, though his airtight alibi doesn’t allow the police much room for conviction. That night, everything changes in their family. Webb who had always been the darling golden boy of the family comes under accusations and the one time he needs his family, except his mother and another aunt, all his family turn their backs on him. Roanna does try to offer him comfort, only to be rebuffed in front of everyone else, which finally shatters her completely. Finally, with the investigation over with, Webb walks out on the family, never looking back.

Ten years later, Lucinda begs Roanna to bring Webb back home. Lucinda needs to make her peace with Webb, and hand over the reins of the  business to him as cancer is slowly taking her over. The ten years had left its toll on Roanna  as well. Gone was the coltish, exuberant girl brimming with energy and mischief. In her place was a cool, remote young woman who never hurried, never lost her temper, seldom smiled and much less laughed out loud. n her mind, she had been worthless and unlovable as she had been when Webb had rejected her apology and the comfort she had offered at Jessie’s funeral. So she had destroyed herself and built a new person who doesn’t feel much, and goes through the daily routine of life like an automated machine. The act of convincing Webb to come back to Davencourt stirs the only emotion that she had felt in 10 long years and Roanna knows that she would never fall out of love with the man who had captured her heart so completely when she was a mere child.

Webb, who has made something of himself in Arizona is shocked by the classy woman who stands in front of him. Vivid erotic encounters featuring him and Roanna had kept much of his dreams occupied and Webb’s control finally breaks and he makes it a condition that Roanna have sex with him for his return to Davenport, an act that he deeply regrets next morning when he discovers that he wants Roanna to come to him on her own terms rather than him forcing her.

Webb’s return to Davencourt is hardly met with applause from the rest of the family who sometime or the other have slowly moved into Davencourt and were leeching off Lucinda. It is upon his return that Webb learns just how close Roanna had come to losing her life and the thought that he would not have known about it leaves him weak with fear. A love that had unfurled as that of a love of a brother towards sister had changed into something else on that fateful night when all their lives had taken an unimaginable turn. And Webb was determined that he would make Roanna his, and prove to her that she belonged with him, as he surely belonged to her.

Amidst his return, the killer who had laid dormant all those years return with a vengeance, to finish off what was started that fateful night 10 years back. A novel that portrays the secrets and lies that a family holds and takes with them to their deathbeds, a story of intense love and passion that withstands  the test of time and distance, this story just took my breath away, even the second time round.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Hunter’s Moon by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookhunter
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Will Lyman
Heroine: Molly Ballard
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 1, 1996
Started On: September 4, 2010
Finished On: September 4, 2010

Hunter’s Moon was the first book ever that I read from Karen Robards which made me ultimately fall in love with her stories and writing style. Though certain titles from Ms. Robards leaves a lot to be desired, most of her stories continue to enchant me and leave me wishing that there were more authors like Ms. Robards out there.

Hunter’s Moon starts off during the year 1982, when 12 year old Libby Coleman disappears on the night of 15th November never to be seen again. The story then continues 13 years later with Will Lyman from the FBI from Chicago who had worked on big time cases is assigned to chase the pettiest criminals he had the misfortune to come across in his career over in Kentucky. City born and bred, Will felt suffocated with the fresh air that he had to breathe in. Will knew that he landed with the assignment because his boss Dave Hallum was pissed off at him him for the fact that the criminals that he had been chasing on a case had blown up his cabin cruiser. For that alone, he had landed in Kentucky with John Murphy as his partner, who is as laid back as they come. Will who was naturally a quick talking, quick thinking and quick acting kind of guy found himself gritting his teeth with Murphy’s attitude. Will who was 39 years old, has an 18 year old son Kevin, and had been married to Kevin’s mother Debbie who had been killed in car accident two days after their son had turned 3 years old.

Will had been assigned to find out what was happening in the horse racetracks in Kentucky where Senator Paxton who bets on race horses suspected that something fishy was going on when his usual bets had turned up losses recently. Senator Paxton had asked his friend and Hallum’s boss to investigate and in turn the assignment had landed in Will’s hands. Will had found out that in fact, Senator Paxton’s suspicions were true and was laying down a trap to lure in Dan Simpson, the horse trainer of the Wayland farm, one of those suspected in substituting the actual racehorse with others and betting on them to draw in huge amounts of money. A burlap feed bag with 5000 dollars in cash had been placed inside the barn and Will and Murphy were monitoring what was going on when a woman whom neither Will nor Murphy has any clue who she is, finds the bag of cash and leaves with it.

Molly Ballard had quit her job at the Wayland Farm four days ago in a fit of fiery temper when Thorton Wayland, the obnoxious grandson of the stable owner had grabbed her butt. Molly knew that her family could not afford the loss of her job and she was determined that Dan Simpson, her boss would pay her the two week’s pay that he owed her. Knowing Dan and his ego, Molly knew that he might refuse to pay what he owed her. Thus Molly had come in earlier than usual before Dan came in so that she would have no chance of missing him. It is inside the barn that Molly finds the bag of cash and without thinking takes it and goes home.

When Molly realized what she had done, the recriminations of her actions had slowly started to sink in. If she were to go to jail or if someone were to kill her for the money, Molly knows that there would be no one else to look out for her 4 younger siblings. Molly had been a baby when her father had walked out on them. Her mother being a manic depressive had born 4 more kids, each for a different man. Ashely who was 17, Mike 14 and Sam and Susan who were twins were 12 years old. With an unreliable mother, Molly and her siblings had all spent their early childhood in various foster homes until Molly had turned 18. Together with her mother, Molly had brought her siblings home and things had been good for a while until her mother had committed suicide in her newest boyfriend’s apartment. It was Molly who had found her with her slashed wrists and blood everywhere. Molly had never notified the authorities of the fact that her siblings were living with her and thus looked after the 4 of them and she wouldn’t have it any other way even though money was always tight and they barely got by.

When Will shows up on her doorstep, Molly fears that everything in her life is about to come crashing down. Mortified more than anything that she had indeed stolen the money and with Will having videotaped evidence of the fact, she is more than relieved when Will believes her version of what happened. But when the informant that Will and Murphy had been relying upon commits suicide, Will needs to work out another plan to make his case work. Thus Will approaches Molly again, this time offering her the 5000 dollars if she would help him nab those he was after. With Will holding all the cards, Molly knows that she has no choice but to do as Will has asked and she agrees to pose as Will’s girlfriend for the duration of the assignment.

Unwittingly, Will who has always maintained perfect control on his emotions and had never mixed his professional life with his personal one suddenly finds himself yearning to do just that with the delectable Molly. At first, Will had felt sorry for the hand life had dealt Molly and her family, but then the stirrings of attraction and awareness begins unlike any he has ever felt before. Will knows he is too old for a 24 year old woman who looks like a teenager at the best of times. Molly who has never had a lack of male companions and had always had the upper hand with the men she dated finds herself out of her depth with the intense emotions she feels for Will. Molly knows that if she is not careful, she would end up falling for a man who would leave them all when the case was over. Nevertheless, the careful control Will yields on his emotions breaks apart and both Molly and Will decide to give in to what they feel for each other.

When Molly falls in love with Will though she tries so hard to deny it and walk away from it, in the end it is Will who walks away when unknowingly Molly stumbles upon the evidence that supports Will’s case. After a final showdown in which both Will and Molly say things that they regret to each other, Will goes back to Chicago and life continues though the pain Molly feels is unlike anything she has ever known. And then 3 weeks later, on the 15th of November, tragedy strikes when a bunch of violent horse mutilations on various nights throughout October culminate in Susan being kidnapped whilst in bed asleep and it is this turn of events that brings Will running back to Molly. Will has to face the fact that what he feels for Molly and her package deal is the forever kind of emotions before its too late for all of them as the maniac killer who had laid dormant for the past 13 years is back with a vengeance and in a frenzy to kill.

Will is an intense hero who makes me melt all over and Molly and her family bring a heartwarming glow to this wonderful romantic suspense novel. The witty banter between Will and Molly always brought a smile to my face and the intense attraction that simmers between the two is always something to be savored. My favorite scene from the book is when Will loses his legendary control with Molly because he is so infuriated with her and they have sex on top of his car, right before he walks out of Molly’s life. That scene was HOT!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Diesel

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Review: One Summer by Karen Robards

Format: E-bookone summer
Read with: Amazon Kindle & Adobe Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Dell
Hero: Johnny Wayne Harris
Heroine: Rachel Grant
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: June 1, 1993
Started On: September 2, 2010
Finished On: September 2, 2010

This was a title I read sometime back when I first discovered Karen Robards as an author. I have always remembered this book to be one that I had immensely liked and thus I decided to revisit this story and see what had intrigued me so much back then.

Rachel Grant lives in the sleepy town of Tylerville. Coming from a rich affluent family Rachel now past thirty years of age was resigned to the fact that she would most probably spend her life in Tylerville as a high school English teacher. With her sister Becky married to Michael Hennessey, the one man who had managed to fire up her dreams and living elsewhere with her husband and three girls, Rachel knew that she would not be able to leave her mother Elisabeth and her father Stan Grant behind when her beloved father was suffering from Alzheimer disease and taking its toll on all those who loved him.

Johnny Wayne Harris is the boy from the wrong side of town. Rachel had been Johnny’s English teacher and it was only she that had seen beneath the tough as nails exterior that Johnny puts up in front of everyone else. The Harris family was considered to be white trash within Tylerville and everyone always figured that Johnny would in the end turn out to be just like his father, when in fact he had turned out to be worse when he was convicted of the vicious murder of Marybeth Edwards who had been seeing Johnny back then on the sly. Though Rachel believed that Johnny hadn’t committed the murder, the state decided that he in fact did and had sent him to jail.

Now Johnny was back, having to work off his parole and Rachel wanting to give him a second chance though she knew Tylerville would be in an uproar for the fact, offers him a job at her family’s hardware store. From the moment that Johnny steps off the bus Rachel knows that he is not the boy that she had envisioned in mind. The sullen even then handsome boy had filled up and in front of her stood a lean, hard and tough man who had matured into a dangerous looking man.

Johnny had always had the “hots” for his then teacher Rachel and had always fantasized about her during his teen years. But even then Johnny had known that apart from the age barrier that had seemed vaster back then, they would never be of the same social standing within the society and any relationship that they could have would be doomed right from the start. But Johnny was tired of dreaming and never having and all of a sudden he craves Rachel with the burning desire of a grown man.

Rachel is appalled when she feels the first inklings of red hot desire when she sees what a superb specimen of the male species that Johnny is. And with him enticing her every step of the way and slowly seducing her into his arms, Rachel who had always cared about Johnny more than she had let on suddenly finds herself out of her depths in the strong feelings that Johnny invokes in her. Its not long before the flames of desire that keeps burning finally burst out of control and Johnny is a man who definitely knows how to keep his woman happy.

Meanwhile, the actual killer who committed the heinous crime twelve years back is still on the loose and swearing to finish what had been started all those years back. When Johnny’s close friend and on and off lover Glenda Watkins is also stabbed to death in the same manner as Marybeth was, the town is in an uproar over arresting Johnny and sending him to the electric chair. The only thing that saves him is Rachel and her testimony that Johnny couldn’t have killed Glenda.

Johnny deduces that the only thing that the killer wants is to kill women who were in his life as his lovers. And Johnny knows deep in his gut that Rachel with whom he had fallen in love with and would lay down his life for was in danger of being murdered by the maniac on the loose.

This story is a wonderful read. The total bad boy image that Ms. Robards has effectively created for Johnny would infuse any woman’s dreams. And the man that he grows into is one worth salivating over. Rachel is more than his match with her unwavering faith in him and the love that burns deep within her heart for the man whom the society deems as unacceptable. With glimpses into Rachel’s family life, the town that abhors Johnny’s existence and the ramblings of the mind of a killer vicious enough that gave me the creeps, I couldn’t put this book down once I started. Highly recommended for those who are fans of Ms. Robards as well as those who love romantic thrillers with a good dosage of sensuality in the mix.

Favorite Quotes

Sometimes, in prison, when he’d been lying awake at night staring at the bunk over his head, Johnny had thought that he missed Wolf most of all.
Wasn’t that a damned sad commentary on his life?
The dog whined again. Knowing he was being ridiculous, that he was liable to lose the hand at the wrist when the animal charged, Johnny nonetheless took a step forward,holding out his fingers for sniffing.
“Wolf? Come here, boy.”
Incredibly, the huge animal sank to its belly and slunk forward, behaving as if it wanted to believe but feared a cruel trick. Johnny dropped to his knees to greet it, his hands reaching out, burrowing in the coarse hide, stroking and scratching as the dog whined and licked and pawed him and butted him with its head.
“Ah, Wolf,” he said as he accepted the truth at last, that this one thing that he had loved had been spared in order to greet him. Then, as the big head snuggled into his lap, he wrapped his arms around the dog’s thick neck and buried his face against the animal’s side.
For the first time in eleven years, he wept.

Thoroughly ruffled, Rachel turned her back on the source of her annoyance and started for the door. She could feel his gaze on her, and the notion that he was watching her made her suddenly self-conscious. In her teetering heels, she could not help but sway.
Just as she reached the door, he made an odd sound that caused her to glance back at him, startled.
“Rachel,” he said in what was scarcely more than a husky whisper, while his eyes drilled into hers, “don’t sleep with him. Sleep with me instead.”
Her breath caught for a moment as the words coiled around her like a seductive snake. Only by forcing herself to keep walking was she able to escape.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Format: E-bookmr.perfect
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Sam Donovan
Heroine: Jaine Bright
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication:  July 25, 2000
Started On: August 15, 2010
Finished On: August 16, 2010

OMG! Sam Donovan has shot up right into the #1 position on my absolute hottie alpha male list. I have no clue as to why I don’t remember this story as being a remarkable one. Maybe it has got something to do with the fact that when I first discovered Linda Howard as an author I just “gobbled” up all the books of hers that I could get my hands on. And boy, am I glad now that I re-read this one!!

Jaine Bright works at a computer related company called Hammerstead Technology. And it was a Friday ritual for Jaine and her three friends Marci Dean, Luna Scissum and T.J Yother to meet up at a local bar and grill called Ernie’s after work for a girls-only unwinding session. Out of the four, Marci was living in with a boyfriend named Brick whom the rest didn’t seem to think much of. Jaine who had been engaged three times and all three times the engagements had gone awry, was wary of men at best and steered clear of them. That is until her drunken looking neighbor who had the gall to suggest she quiet down in the middle of the day so that he can catch up on his beauty sleep whilst he comes home every night at the most odd hours banging and clanging his way through the street, making Jaine regret her decision to buy a house in the nice quaint neighborhood she was living in. And she had just discovered that her neighbor who seemed to vibrate with fury whenever she was around was a cop. Whilst T.J was the only one of them who was married, and that to her high school sweetheart, Luna was in an on an off relationship with a football star, who didn’t seem to have a faithful bone in his body.

So it was no wonder that on that particular Friday, when all four of them were bummed out about the men in their lives, as a joke, the four of them came up with a list of qualities that they require their Mr. Perfect to have. Things like being faithful, nice and dependable makes their way to the top of the list whilst the bottom of the list tended to get a little raunchy. A little harmless fun between friends on a Friday night turns into a nightmare when Marci during a moment of weakness shares the list with the editor of the newsletter of their company bringing all four of them into the limelight.

Meanwhile, at the home front, Jaine’s sister Shelley was pissed off at Jaine because her mom had entrusted the care of Booboo, her parents pet cat to Jaine. And David, Jaine’s brother was pissed off at her because their dad had entrusted the care of his vintage car to Jaine rather than David. And when the list leaks out and becomes a national sensation, Shelley and David seem to be equally pissed off with Jaine. And to top everything off, Jaine sights her “detestable” neighbor Sam naked, and oh boy does she fall hard and fast in lust with every luscious inch on display! And it doesn’t help matters when Sam says stuff like if he starts kissing her, it wouldn’t end up being JUST a kiss, which has Jaine all hot and bothered.

The dialogues between Jaine and Sam cracked me up big time! The conversation they have right after Sam and Jaine kiss for the first time (and boy that was one of the HOTTEST kisses ever!) is one to be savored. Jaine has on her mind to torture the sexy cop who seems to occupy her thoughts throughout the day, but eventually the joke is on her when Jaine is as frustrated as Sam is to hit the sheets. And when they do get round to have wall banging sex for the first time, Sam’s reaction afterwards had me laughing so hard!

Things with the list create enough of a spectacle such that Marci’s boyfriend Brick leaves in a huff and T.J’s husband blames her for ruining his image in front of his work buddies. A rift that had been growing for the past two years suddenly become a gulf big enough that their marriage seems to hit the rocks for the first time with T.J unwilling to apologize for some harmless fun she had with her friends.

But the list brings out the worst of a psychotic killer and suddenly what started out as a bit of fun between friends ceases to be that. When Marci is murdered in her home, bludgeoned to death with a hammer and sexually assaulted, Sam’s protective instincts kick in and thus starts a race against time to find the killer who lurks so close by.

I loved every single minute of reading this book. A quick page-turner with witty banter between all characters, a spunky heroine who grabs life by its “balls” and a sexy hero who makes my toes curl just thinking about him with a villain who just managed to creep me out because I was all alone in my room was enough to make my day! Highly recommended for fans of romantic thrillers. You cannot go wrong with this one!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: Double Standards by Judith McNaught

Format: Paperback
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Temptation, #16
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: J. Nicholas Sinclair
Heroine: Lauren Danner
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  June 1984
Started On: August 12, 2010
Finished On: August 12, 2010

I think this is the 3rd or 4th time that I have re-read this book and this is one story that doesn’t get old. There is none like Judith McNaught who can create cynical, tortured heroes who fall that much harder for the right woman. And this book is no exception to the rule with the drop dead gorgeous Nick Sinclair, president of Global Industries which owned Sinco, Sinclair Electronic Components in which Lauren worked for.

Lauren who is half Italian and half Irish, who grew up in Fenster, Missouri with her father who was a small town teacher and her stepmother and two step siblings ends up in an interview with Philip Whitworth to secure a job for herself, an interview which her father had arranged. Though Lauren had misgivings about the Whitworth family since her childhood memories of the one visit to the Whitworths didn’t include anything memorably good, Lauren agrees to the interview because she is desperately in need of a job that would help ease the financial burdens on her family.

When Lauren is propositioned by Philip to spy on the Sinclair Industries based on the suspicions that someone was leaking bid figures from the Whitworth company to the Sinclairs, Lauren doesn’t feel so good about saying yes to the deal. But when all she has to do is let Philip know if one of the four names of the executives who are involved in the bid preparation process is ever mentioned at the Sinclairs seems not so bad to someone as desperate as Lauren is for a good job.

However, at the last minute Lauren has her doubts and deliberately fails the interview session she has to undergo to secure the position at Sinco. But however, a chance encounter with Nick who provokes all Lauren’s senses has Lauren wanting to work where she could be close to Nick. Not knowing that Nick is the owner of Sinco and Global Industries, Lauren agrees to go away for a weekend with Nick to the Hamptons, a weekend during which Lauren offers Nick her heart and her body.

However Lauren’s rosy dreams of forever ever after come crashing down in the cold hard reality once the weekend is over and Nick pushes her away. Thinking and believing that Nick wouldn’t dismiss her so easily, Lauren waits around two weeks for the call from Nick that never comes. And it is when she starts her secretarial position at Sinco that she finds out that Nick is not the man she thought him to be.

Feeling betrayed beyond belief, Lauren is a force to be reckoned with when Nick realizes that he still wants Lauren in his bed. The sparks that fly when these two butt their heads is something worth savoring. Lauren gives as good as she gets and the tension that soars between these two makes for a splendid read.

With the secret that Lauren harbors, the fragile trust that Nick places in her comes crashing down once the truth is out, the truth that Lauren had been in cahoots with the Whitworths, a betrayal that sends Nick reeling.

As usual, the one thing that irked me was the fact that Nick humiliated Lauren so much towards the end, but when he comes back looking for her and begging her forgiveness, Nick doesn’t need to do much grovelling, just because he had a bitch of a mother. Although the way Nick suffered when he was young tug at my heartstrings every time, I couldn’t help but yearn for a bit more grovelling on Nick’s side to win back the affection of the woman who would do anything for him.

Great read which I finished in a couple of hours. This is one contemporary by Judith McNaught that I would always highly recommend.

Purchase Links: Amazon

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Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!

Review: Can’t Get Enough by Sarah Mayberry

Format: E-bookcgeno
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Blaze, #221
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Jack Brook
Heroine: Claire Marsden
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  October 1, 2005
Started On: July 24, 2010
Finished On: July 26, 2010

This book was out of print when I first discovered Sarah Mayberry’s writing style and I guess this was the first book that I had shipped to Male’ because the e-format of the book wasn’t out then and I couldn’t seem to dissuade myself from forgetting about getting my hands on the book. I went as far as even emailing the author in hopes of finding out whether the e-format would be available anytime soon to which she replied that it was up to the publisher to decide when and if they would release the book in e-format.

So when I stumbled upon this book in one of the book shelves at home, I decided to go ahead and re-read this (as if I don’t have plenty of books already on the to-be-read pile) and I have to say I enjoyed the book immensely even the second time round.

Claire Marsden and Jack Brook work for the same company and right from the very first moment that Claire lays eyes on the handsome, charming and devilish Jack, her lips form a perpetual straight line of disapproval. His whole effortless charm and the way the female population tend to swoon around him grates on every nerve that Claire has and it gives her a great jolt of pleasure every time that she gives him the icy cold shoulder wherever and whenever she encounters Jack.

Jack for the world of him couldn’t understand why Claire gave off the dislike vibe so much when around him. Jack sees Claire as someone who is so uptight that he mentally imagines her as someone who would likely iron her underwear. And the tight little frown that she always has whenever their eyes meet makes Jack wonder whether the woman was born with a set of lips. Jack thinks Claire could use with some loosening up and Claire thinks Jack could use with someone bringing him down a peg or two from the high horse he is on.

But things change drastically when these two are stuck in a sweltering elevator for hours. Suddenly Claire notices that Jack is not at all what she imagined him to be and that what her best friend had talked to her hours before about Jack being pretty good in the bedroom department keeps flitting through Claire’s mind. Jack is thrown for a loop when he realizes that Claire is actually HOT and that he is panting like a dog in heat when Claire strips down to her bra and skirt to escape the stifling heat. Before they know it, Claire and Jack have the best sex of their lives and right after gets rescued.

Jack, who is frighteningly commitment phobic knows that Claire is not the sort of woman who would opt for a casual role in the hay but would want more than he is prepared to give. Claire who was brought up by her father, had for all of her life tried to win his attention by trying to be the best in everything as she possibly could. Starved for affection and love, Claire can’t help but want Jack to show her that what she experienced in the elevator with him is not a one time thing but the forever kind of thing.

Jack wants to avoid Claire at all costs but the fact that they are forced to work together on a project does not help matters along. Jack wants nothing more than to strip Claire of her boxy suites and bury himself in her hot little figure and lose himself in the red hot sensations that Claire evokes. Its a battle of the wills with these two right from the start which makes this book one hell of a read.

If you want to read a romance with witty dialogues between the characters with enough sexual tension to blow you away, this is the book for you. Highly recommended for those who love the Harlequin Blaze line.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

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Review: Kiss and Tell by Cherry Adair

Format: E-bookkiss&tell
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: T-FLAC, Book 2
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Hero: Jake Dolan
Heroine: Marnie Wright
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication:  September 2000
Started On: July 21, 2010
Finished On: July 24, 2010

I read this story when I first discovered Cherry Adair’s books and remembered this as one of the good books in the T-FLAC series. The T-FLAC is an anti-terrorist organization that not only works in the US but all around the world, diffusing situations which otherwise could prove to be fatal.

Jake Dolan, a man who grew up with two alcoholic parents who never gave him the time of the day never knew what it was to be like to be loved unconditionally. Jake had grown up and toughened up long before any kid is supposed to, and joined the Navy after running away from home at the age of sixteen. Navy had taught him all he needed to know and shaped him up as the dangerous agent he has become. The T-FLAC had gone one step further and the loss of his three best friends (the four of them had called themselves the Four Musketeers) and the immense betrayal the one woman he had fallen for, the scar that ran along his throat always the reminder makes Jack a man wary of emotional entanglements. A terrorist named “Dancer” is all that Jake is after with a vengeance as he is the man who is responsible for the death of his friends and the woman who perfectly orchestrated the role of a loving girl friend before literally trying to split up his throat.

Jake is residing in his mountain hideaway because he has been forced to take leave from work by a bunch of missions that had gone horribly wrong, no thanks to a mole residing deep within the T-FLAC, a mole that Jack swears he would find and make him or her pay. And along comes Marnie Wright, screwing up with his head and daring him to break down the iron fortress enclosing his heart, a challenge Jake knows before long that he is going to lose.

Marnie had come up into the mountains to stay in her granny’s cabin, to say a final goodbye and grieve for  the woman who had nurtured her and fought the four protective men around her whilst she was growing up so that Marnie’s childhood would have even a semblance of normalcy in it. Marnie with her dog Duchess for company is determined to turn her life around and start standing firm  in her decision to lead her life the way she wants it. And along comes the larger than life Jake Dolan, whose distrustful gaze makes her want to comfort him and show him that not every blond that comes along is going to go for his jugular.

Jake wants Marnie off his mountain and Marnie is adamant on staying when a freak storm destroys her granny’s cabin and nearly takes her along with it. Reluctantly Jake offers her shelter in his cabin until the storm passes along and he can get her safely away from his vicinity. But the best laid plans always have a way of falling apart at its seams and before Jake knows it, a team that acts as T-FLAC agents have him and Marnie running for their lives. Although Jake doesn’t trust the woman beside him one inch, against his better judgment, Jake takes Marnie into his hideaway, hidden deep within the mountains, a place where he toys around and tests high tech gadgets, a hobby which had earned him a fortune and made him into a very wealthy man.

Jake is baffled as to how the men who are hunting him knew in the first place about his hideout as the only ones who knew of its plans were long since dead. And the woman beside him infuriates him and unleashes red hot desire in him like no other, and no matter how much Jake tries to resist Marnie and her unflappable charm, it is  not long before Jake has the most spectacular sex of his life and loses his heart in the process.

This book is as good as a romantic suspense gets. I loved Marnie and her gutsy role as a heroine and of course adored Jake and his bristly ways which made him fall that much harder for Marnie which makes the book a very satisfying read indeed.

I did try reading the other books in the T-FLAC series and for the world of me, I couldn’t find myself that interested enough to keep on reading although reading this book one gets mighty interested in finding out more about the Wright brothers.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard

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Review: The Touch of Fire by Linda Howard

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle & Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Western Ladies, Book 3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Hero: Rafe McCay
Heroine: Doctor Annie Parker
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: October 1992
Started On: July 5, 2010
Finished On: July 6, 2010

I am almost done with my re-read phase of novels by Linda Howard. Her novels are so interesting that I just can’t seem to be able to set aside the book once I start reading. This novel is no exception to that and I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the tale of how Rafe McCay and Dr. Annie Parker found ultimate happiness with one another.

Rafe has been on the run for his life for the past four years. Framed for a murder which he didn’t commit, Rafe is a man who has an army of bounty hunters on his trail with a handsome bounty of 10,000 dollars on his head. Though at first Rafe had tried to clear up his name, the murders of the two men who tried to help him has long convinced Rafe that his life would always be spent on the run.

One such bounty hunter, Trahera gets too close for comfort and Rafe is shot hindering his plans though he manages to slow Trahera down by shooting him in the leg. Ten days after Rafe gets shot, delirious with high fever and an infected wound, Rafe comes across the boom town Silver Mesa where blessedly he finds the home of Dr. T. A. Parker.

Annie whose father was a doctor is a woman who is determined that she would practice medicine even if it meant she had to live in towns like the one she was currently residing in. Born during a time when females were merely tolerated and much less when she dares to encroach on territories determined to be for the men, Annie is thrown for a loop when she finds Rafe residing in her home with the smell of infection wafting off of him.

From the moment Annie touches Rafe, though she tries to keep her thoughts professional and her touch brisk, Annie can’t help the jolt of sensation that slithers through her being by the merest touch. Rafe can’t believe it when the lady standing before him proclaims to be the doctor he was looking for and when though her touch soothes him and stirs a fire of longing in him at the same time, Rafe just attributes it towards the fever which is making him delirious.

When Annie proclaims that Rafe is not fit to do anything but rest for at least 3 days, Rafe kidnaps Annie at gun point and makes her leave with him and travels high up into the mountains where he would be able to recuperate without the fear of being caught. Though he knows Annie is frightened out of her wits to be forced to travel in the cold, Rafe admires the strength that keeps Annie from whining and complaining about her fate.

Thrust into the company of the man with the cold silver eyes who makes Annie burns for things she has no clue of, it is a battle that Annie loses when Rafe sets out to seduce the delectable doctor in his arms. Annie knows that she would never again love another man as she has come to love Rafe and surrenders her body and soul to the man who makes her senses sing from pleasure.

But danger is constantly lurking in the shadows and when finally Trahera stumbles upon their hideout by chance, Rafe knows its time to move on and return Annie to where he kidnapped her from. But Annie knows that she would never be able to return to the life as she knew it and Rafe knowing that her safety had also been compromised now decides to take Annie along with him.

Annie and Rafe’s journey through the unforgiving lands is one filled with taut sensuality and danger at every turn. The mystery of how Rafe is on the run for his life is a riveting one and with a hero and heroine you root for right from the start, this is an unbeatable book of romance and adventure.

I always love a good epilogue in any book I read and my favorite part of the book would have to be the epilogue which describes the happily ever after that Rafe and Annie finds with each other.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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Review: After the Night by Linda Howard

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Gray Rouillard
Heroine: Faith Devlin
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: December 1995
Started On: July 3, 2010
Finished On: July 5, 2010

Linda Howard takes us on one wicked sensual ride in this novel where the wealthy Gray Rouillard clashes with the poor town outcast Faith Devlin. Everyone in the small town of Prescott, Louisiana knew that Faith’s mother Renee the town whore, a sensational beauty who with a glance can leave men wanting is Guy Rouillard’s mistress. From a very young age, Faith had been addled with taking care of her mishap family with a drunken lout of a father and two elder brothers who were well on their way on continuing their father’s legacy and an elder sister who was quickly following in the wake of their mother. And then there was the youngest in the family, a child addled with Down’s syndrome who needed continuous care and attention.

The Devlins live on the outskirts of Rouillard’s property and regardless of the fact that they never paid their rent the Devlins were tolerated because of the relationship between Guy and Renee. Faith has always worshiped the town’s golden boy from afar. Faith’s childhood was a mix of spending endless hours just watching Guy and his friends while away their time and taking care of the endless chores that await her at home. Faith has never had illusions that a Devlin would ever be deemed good enough for a Rouillard but she yearns to shout out to the world that she is different from the rest of her family.

And one fateful night, life as the Devlins and Rouillards know it come to an end when Renee and Guy run away together leaving their families to pick up the pieces. Gray cannot fathom the reason why Guy had to abandon everything and run away with the town whore and overnight Gray grows up and is left to bear the emotional and financial upheaval that his father has left in his wake. Gray is furious with the trashy Devlins and orders them to evacuate the Rouillard’s property, an order  to which Faith’s family doesn’t pay a heed. However the full extent of the impact of Guy’s abandonment together with the fact that the Devlins were just continuing life as they know it drives Gray into a mass of seething rage which sees him ridding the town of the Devlins once and for all.

Faith would never forget the night that her mama never came home and how she and the rest of her family were driven out of their only home like a bunch of outlaws in the middle of the night. And twelve years later, Faith returns to Prescott, Louisiana to find the truth about what actually took place the night Renee and Guy left in the middle of the night forever changing the lives of both families. Faith’s return to town stirs up the gossip and the anger within the Rouillard’s family and Gray feels sucker punched by the intense need to get horizontal with Faith as soon as he lays eyes on her.

Faith knows that she would never be able to deny Gray but she would rather die than be labeled as the mistress of Gray Rouillard. Gray is torn between his family and the white hot desire that runs through his veins whenever he and Faith come across one another and of course it doesn’t help one bit when he realizes that Faith turns putty in his arms. The coming together of Faith and Gray is so explosive that you would feel the scorch of the heat generated as you read through. And whilst the relationship between Gray and Faith continues to unfold till its inevitable conclusion, someone in Prescott doesn’t like the questions that Faith keeps on asking in order to piece together what actually happened that fateful night.

Packed with explosive sexual tension between two strong characters that reminded me of Aqua Man with his long hair, wide shoulders and the oh so sexy diamond stud in his ear and Faith with her cat like green eyes and red hair with the effortless sensuality that drives Gray out of his mind that bore a strong resemblance with Aqua Man’s wife in the Justice League cartoon series, this book is one that each contemporary romance lover must read!

My favorite scene in the book would have to be the one where Gray corners Faith in the ladies room in the courthouse, and man do the pages sizzle then! I would love one wicked Gray Rouillard served on a plate please!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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